Smithville pitcher and Mississippi State commitment Jared Johnson expects to bypass college and sign with the Atlanta Braves. 

STARKVILLE – Mississippi State matched the 2016 team with a school-record 11 players selected in this year’s MLB draft.

Additionally, the Bulldogs also had four members of its 2019 signing class drafted – all in the first 15 rounds.

“We felt like we did a pretty good job getting through the draft,” said MSU coach Chris Lemonis. “We have some really good, talented players coming but we’re still waiting to hear from a couple of guys.”

Catcher signee Ethan Hearn of Mobile Christian in Alabama was drafted in the sixth round by the Chicago Cubs and the 192nd pick holds a draft slot value of $247,000.

Hearn told on Wednesday morning that “I haven’t officially signed yet. But as long as everything works out, I plan to go pro.”

Northwest Florida Junior College outfielder Jake Randa went in the 13th round to the Washington Nationals and tweeted on Thursday, “I want to thank Coach Lemonis, Coach (Jake) Gautreau and Coach (Kyle) Cheesebrough at Mississippi State University for giving me the opportunity to play college baseball at my dream school. But with that being said, I have decided to sign with the Washington Nationals and begin my journey through professional baseball.”

Randa has since deleted that tweet.

Smithville pitcher and Daily Journal Player of the Year Jared Johnson was taken by the Atlanta Braves in the 14th round. Johnson told the Monroe Journal on Wednesday that he had already told the Bulldogs he intends to ink with the Braves.

“It’s special to even have that opportunity because that’s a baseball haven,” Johnson said of MSU. “I’m definitely ready to start my pro career.”

The final Diamond Dog signee drafted was Ringgold, Georgia, outfielder Andre Tarver in the 15th round by the San Diego Padres. Tarver has not indicated which way he will choose but has until July 12th at 4 p.m. to work out a deal with the Padres.

“We’ve had some conversations and have gone back and forth a little bit,” Lemonis said. “This is a wait and see process. We’re just trying to wait and figure it out and see where we’re at.”

Of the 11 current players that State had selected last week, five are seniors and redshirt junior pitcher Ethan Small went with the 28th overall selection of the first round to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Small’s draft slot comes with a $2,493,000 value.

“I’m really excited to get started with that obviously but we’ve got something to take care of first,” Small said.

Draft eligible sophomore Tanner Allen was selected in the 34th round by the Colorado Rockies but indicated that he will be back for his junior season.

“I’m very humbled obviously,” Allen told on Wednesday. “But I’m planning to come back to Mississippi State.”

Twitter: @loganlowery

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